MP Ssewanyana moves to block elections for Speaker

Ssewanyana

Ssewanyana in the dock (courtesy photo)

The detained Makindye West Member of Parliament Allan Ssewanyana is seeking to halt the process for the election of Speaker of Parliament until he is allowed to contest for the same office.

The MPs are on Friday this week expected to vote for the next Speaker of Parliament, to replace the late Jacob Oulanyah who passed away on Sunday, in the United States of America where he had been rushed for medical attention.

Apparently, Ssewanyana who is on remand in Kigo Maximum prison on a multiplicity of charges related to murder and terrorism, says also has an interest in being elected the next Speaker of parliament.

While appearing before Masaka Grade One Magistrate Christine Nantege, to receive updates on the status of investigations into the matters, Ssewanyana instructed his lawyers; Elias Lukwago, Shamim Malende, and Asuman Basalirwa to ensure that his interest in the office is also respected by any means permissible under the law.

Ssewanyana argues that much he is on remand, he merely remains a suspect who is innocent of the offenses until proven guilty of charges against him, indicating that this gives him absolute rights to participate in the process as well as expressing interest and contesting for Office of the Speaker.

Similarly, besides being in ill-health, staying long on remand sentence without trial, and having many pending responsibilities for which he has been seeking bail, the Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya also told the court that he would also wish to contest for the office of Deputy Speaker of Parliament should the current office bearer relinquish it.

While delivering her ruling, in which she further remanded the MPs up to April 06th, the trial magistrate advised their lawyers to explore the available legal channels through which their interests in the race for Speakership can be effectively expressed.

“…..on the application that the accused persons intend to make in regards to the Speakership race, this can be done through their counsels,” she indicated.

Elias Lukwago has told Uganda Radio Network that before applying for an injunction to halt the ongoing process for the election of Speaker, he is going to seek audience with the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga, to bring to his attention the interests expressed by the MPs in becoming candidates for the same position.

On the other hand, the MPs earlier openly expressed their disappointment by the delayed processes of investigations into the murders charges preferred against them.

These also blamed the prosecution led by Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney for what he described as persecution, arguing that the state has consistently failed to find substantial evidence that can led to their committal to the High court for trial.

But in his response, Birivumbuka asked the court to allow him up to the next adjournment to enable him to present the committal papers for the two MPs, saying he was finalizing with preparing key witnesses in the case.

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